Carrageenan in Dog Food

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Moving on to the letter C in our 2nd A to Z Dog Food Ingredient series. Today we examine why Carrageenan is in Dog Food.


What is Carrageenan?

According to Wikipedia, Carrageenans are a family of carbohydrate structures that are extracted from red edible seaweeds.


Common names for Carrageenan

The most common names for carrageenan on food labels are alternative spellings including Carageenan, Carrageenen, and Carrigeenin.


Why is Carrageenan included in dog food?

Carrageenans are widely used in the food industry because of their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. They bind strongly to food proteins such as meat and dairy. They are most common in loafs and pate style wet foods.


Is Carrageenan a commonly used ingredient in dog food?

Carrageenan is a fairly common dog food ingredient. It is present in over 20% of all dog foods although it is in over 40% of wet foods.


Common benefits or risks of Carrageenan

Food-grade (also known as un-degraded) carrageenan is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list of items that are “Generally Recognized as Safe”. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) considers it an acceptable emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener in pet food.


There have been several studies that suggest that carrageenan can be in instigator to cancer although it is not currently known as a carcinogen. (For a great summary on this research, read Chris Kresser’s recap)


Carrageenan might cause intestinal distress in some pets.


Slimdoggy Ingredient Comfort Level

Because it has no nutritional benefit and the possibility that it can cause stomach upset and might have a linkage to cancer, carrageenan gets the Slimdoggy Sad Face.


Miscellaneous facts about Carrageenan

Besides pet food, carrageenan is often used in ice cream, milkshakes and other desserts as well as diet soda, beer, pates and shampoo.


Carrageenan is thought to have anti-viral properties and several research studies have been conducted to determine its efficacy against the common cold and even HIV.


Sources and further reading

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  1. I’ve checked the food package, it’s not included in Easy’s food. But it contents fructo-oligosaccharides, is that the same like fruit sugar? I will make a list with good and bad things and put it in my bag. Many thanks for a great post!
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog DATE DAY!My Profile

  2. Thanks for bringing this ingredient to our attention, never heard of it and I would give it a sad face too.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tasty Tuesday~Brothers Complete Biscuit ReviewMy Profile

  3. Something new to research. Was not aware of this one. Thanks.
    Bailey recently posted…The SuspectsMy Profile

  4. Hmmmthis is one I have never heard of! thanks for sharing!
    Enjoy your day!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Weekend Fun – Huskies in the sun!My Profile

  5. Thanks for talking about this ingredient. As I’m not familiar with it, it wasn’t on my “to avoid” list. It certainly is now! Thanks for the valuable information.
    Kelsie recently posted…Give Me That Treat – Buddy BiscuitsMy Profile

  6. I wasn’t familiar with this ingredient either. Gosh, there’s so many random ingredients in some of the pet foods. Thank you for helping us sort through lots of them.
    Lindsay recently posted…If you could check your pet’s health at home, would you? #PetnosticsMy Profile

  7. Interesting, especially the antiviral possibilities. I’ve seen the word, but hadn’t associated it with dog food.
    Flea recently posted…Max’s Medley is Too GoodMy Profile

  8. Well, it certainly sounds nasty. We don’t want anything that might upset the boys tummies. Pierre has issues with his anyway, so I have to be careful what he eats. He had something the other day and his belly was so loud that it was scary! Thanks for the lesson.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Is Pet Fostering Right for You?My Profile

    • Jack has IBD, so we are pretty careful about what he’s eating too.
      mkob recently posted…Carrageenan in Dog FoodMy Profile

  9. Love these great articles about single ingredients in pet food. Fantastic information!
    Sue recently posted…Natures Variety Prairie Dog Biscuits from Chewy Product Reveiw | Tasty TuesdayMy Profile

    • Thanks – we love that folks are really starting to pay attention and are so anxious to learn!
      mkob recently posted…Carrageenan in Dog FoodMy Profile

  10. It doesn’t sound like a good thing and since it is pointless, why include it anyway?
    Emma recently posted…Healthy Liver Snacks for Your Dog | GBGV | #BennyBullysMy Profile

  11. Interesting. I have not heard of that ingredient.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–ExcitementMy Profile

  12. I’m actually familiar with this ingredient, but didn’t know they used it in dog food. I have migraines and it’s on a list of things I should not eat because they could possibly trigger a headache. Unfortunately, I often see it on ingredients lists…especially in ice cream which is one of my biggest weaknesses!
    I just checked and I’m happy to say it’s not in the dog food we’re currently feeding!
    Jan K recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – The GraduateMy Profile

    • Wonder why it’s in ice cream??
      mkob recently posted…Dog Life SpansMy Profile

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